On August 24, 2017, Rohingya militants attacked more than 30 police posts in Myanmar. The government retaliated by burning Rohingya villages, killing Rohingya civilians and committing other atrocities against the country’s Muslim minority. The situation has increased the need for humanitarian aid to Myanmar.
As of October 19, 2017, almost 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh and the number is continuing to climb. The U.N. referred to the situation as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. The government has denied many of the allegations and has taken control of aid operations, blocking many types of aid from reaching the country.
Yet even in such dark situations, inspiring examples of kindness and generosity can be found. In that spirit, here are some of the positive stories of humanitarian aid to Myanmar in the midst of a horrendous situation.
- The United States has pledged an additional $32 million of humanitarian aid to Myanmar and the surrounding regions that will go toward helping the Rohingya people. These additional funds bring total U.S. assistance to the area to nearly $95 million for the 2017 financial year.
- The Canadian government has promised to provide $2.5 million in aid to the Rohingya. This pledge is a part of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and will go to women and children displaced by the crisis. Canada has sent $6.6 million to Myanmar and Bangladesh so far in 2017.
- Norway made a pledge to provide an additional $3 million of aid to those affected by the conflict. Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Eriksen Søreide, also called on Myanmar’s government to give access to organizations providing humanitarian aid to Myanmar to the worst-affected areas of the country.
- The United Nations Refugee Agency has been working with the government of Bangladesh to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh. The Agency has opened medical centers to tend to the needs of the refugees.
These are only a few of the many governments, organizations and individuals that have assisted the Rohingya people in the midst of this horrendous crisis. Humanitarian aid to Myanmar and the surrounding area continues to be delivered in many different forms.
The humanitarian aid to Myanmar is a reminder that even in times of unspeakable tragedy, there are always individuals who are helping and making a difference. It is imperative to keep this in mind when thinking about the importance of humanitarian aid and foreign assistance.
– Aaron Childree